Refashion: The Market Skirt

This weekend I went ahead and tackled the easiest refashion from these fabulous dresses I posted about last week. I have yet to decide exactly what to do with the other two, but am definitely taking any and all suggestions!

Although I loved the pink buttons on this jumper, there was no question the top portion had to go. I'll use those buttons down the line for something else. This totally nineties jumper... now a breezy mid-calf length skirt, perfect for a day at the market (or outlet mall, in my case), and is therefore called, The Market Skirt.

 Seriously, it was hot and humid high 90's on Saturday here, and this skirt was a dream to wear as we perused the goods at the outdoor outlet mall nearby.

As promised, I took lots of pictures of the whole process. Here's the tutorial, for any of you who are looking to add to your summer wardrobe! I tend to over-explain things (I prefer to be thorough), so don't be intimidated by the paragraphs at each step. It really is very simple!

-1 old dress, with a breezy/flowy fabric
-1 yard 2in wide knitted elastic (more or less depending on your waist size)
-Thread to match

1. Cut skirt portion from bodice.
I liked the length of the skirt already, so I cut right below the elastic that attached the skirt to the bodice. If you want to adjust the length, it is much easier to cut it to the right length in this step and keep the original hem. Hemming is a beast, so I try to avoid it at all costs. To figure out where to cut, try the dress on and pull the skirt portion up from the waist to the length you want, then mark 1" above your natural waist. Cut straight across at that mark.

Discard the bodice of your dress- or save it for some other project if you are a fabric hoarder like me:)

2. Gather the waist of the skirt. 
This is done by first sewing a basting stitch all the way around the waist of your skirt. A basting stitch just means use a long stitch length.

When you sewing a basting stitch you do not backstitch at the beginning and end- just start sewing. Make sure to leave a long tail of thread at the beginning and end-this will help you when you are gathering later. When I am gathering something large like this, I divide my area to be gathered in to a few sections and baste them separately. This way you are less likely to break the thread as you gather and get really angry and give up. Not that I've ever done that :)

I use the edge of my presser foot as a guide for my basting stitch.

I sewed 3 sections of basting stitches. When I finished the first and cut the thread I pulled the fabric back toward me an inch or so and started the second section of stitching to the side of the first. I learned this little trick after I discovered that the areas where the sections of stitching met usually weren't gathered well. By overlapping a little you end up with a more even gather.

The first row of stitching ends on the right and the second starts next to it on the left. 
On one end of each section of stitches, tie the two threads together. This will keep your gathers from falling out at the end of your threads. 

On the other end of each section, grab the top thread and gently tug so the fabric gathers toward the knotted end. Continue with each section. You'll adjust the gathers later, so don't worry too much yet about how they look. 

3. Make the waistband.
Here is where your elastic comes in. Wrap your elastic around your natural waist, holding the ends together. Adjust so that the elastic is slightly taut- you don't want the waistband to dig in to your belly, but you do want the elastic to do its job in keeping your skirt up. When you are happy with the size, mark where the ends should meet and be sure to allow 1/2"-1" for seam allowance.

Making sure your elastic is flat (no loops or twists) pin the edges together where they should meet. You can cut the excess now or after you have sewn.

Sew using a wide zig zag stitch, which will allow the elastic to stretch without breaking the thread. I used this wide multi step zig zag, which allows for a lot of stretch.

After you have sewn the edges together and trimmed the excess you can do this quick step to help your seam lay flat, but it isn't necessary. Fold your seam allowance to one side and stitch it down.

Your waistband should now look something like this:

4. Attach the skirt to the waistband.
My skirt had seams on the sides and in the front and back. If yours doesnt, you'll want to mark the middle of the front and the middle of the back with a pin or marker. Pin the middle back of the skirt to the seam you just made on the waistband.

Pin so the front of the elastic and the front of the skirt are facing the same direction.

Do the same thing with the side seams and middle front of the dress, making sure to space them evenly on the elastic. I folded the elastic to figure out where the middle and sides were.

Once it is pinned in those 4 places, adjust the gathers so the skirt is the same width as the elastic, and so that the gathers are evenly spaced. As you pin, you need to make sure the top of the skirt stays parallel to the elastic. I did this by measuring with this seam guide, but you could use anything as long as it stays consistent. What we don't want is a skirt that ends up being an inch shorter in some areas- so be consistent!

Continue until you have pinned all the way around the skirt.

Now its time to sew! I used a medium width zig zag stitch, but in retrospect wish I had used one a little wider to allow more stretch when I pull it on over my hips.

Using the edge of the fabric as your guide, sew all the way around the waistband.

Trim your threads, remove the basting stitch (or leave it and hear the unpleasant sounds of snapping stitches as you pull the skirt on), turn right side out, and you are done!

The total cost for this cute summer skirt was $5.99! The dress was a $4 thrift store find and the elastic was $1.99 for a yard. I already had thread on hand. It doesn't get much cheaper than that!
I am really excited to have this new skirt to sport. I have a super hard time dressing in the summer. I'm a layering, sweater and boots wearing kinda gal, so adding to my summer wardrobe is a priority right now. Anybody else have that problem? What do you wear in the summer?